Phagwara: Union Minister Vijay Sampla today defended Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s remarks on the SYL Canal issue, saying Punjab should get its rightful share of the river waters.
Addressing mediapersons here, he said Punjab was the grain basket of the country and had contributed immensely to the economy as well.
“Hence, it is justified that the state is given its rightful share of waters which is sine qua non (an essential condition) for sustaining and strengthening agri-based economy,” the Punjab BJP chief said.
Sampla said just like industries are given subsidies for their growth, similarly adequate water is required for boosting agriculture.
Stressing that water was meant for mankind, the Hoshiarpur MP said Punjab’s demand for water was not for itself but for the nation.
He was replying to queries on his stand over the issue in which SAD, with whom BJP is in alliance in Punjab, is sticking to its stand, and Haryana, where BJP is in power as well, stuck to its claim.
Yesterday, Badal had said in Amritsar that neither Punjab nor Punjabis would not accept any verdict against the state’s interest on river waters and were ready to make any sacrifice to safeguard its legitimate share.
Punjab and Haryana are embroiled in a legal tussle in the Supreme Court over their respective claims on Sutlej Yamuna Link waters.
Sampla, however, took to task Congress leader Amarinder Singh for his remarks that his party’s MLAs would quit en mass if the apex court’s decision on the issue is unfavourable to the state.
“Why did Captain (Amarinder) remain silent when SYL canal project was started during Congress governments in state and Centre?” he asked, adding, “By that yardstick, Captain should not have been in politics by now”.
Lambasting AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal for his “doublespeak” over the matter, Sampla alleged that he had said something in Punjab but took an opposite stand in Delhi.
He said BJP’s Central Parliamentary Board is expected to announce state candidates by December end.
“BJP will contest on 23 seats with minor changes at some places and possibility of some new faces,” he said, claiming that SAD-BJP would win all 117 seats and form government for the record third time in the state.
On former party MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, Sampla said he had become a “political football” and had committed “political suicide”. He also claimed that BJP had accommodated the Sidhu couple for long and even tolerated their “indiscipline”.
He said Adampur airport will be operational 18 months after the acquisitiion of required land, adding, Badal had cleared file for the acquisition, hoping that the airport might get operational by next Diwali. PTI
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